Category: Branding

The Empathy of Michelle Obama

Posted August 19, 2020 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Famous People / 0 Comments

On Tuesday night, Michelle Obama, in her speech at the Democratic National Convention spoke about empathy.

“Empathy: that’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. The ability to walk in someone else’s shoes; the recognition that someone else’s experience has value, too. Most of us practice this without a second thought. If we see someone suffering or struggling, we don’t stand in judgment. We reach out because, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” It is not a hard concept to grasp. It’s what we teach our children.

And like so many of you, Barack and I have tried our best to instill in our girls a strong moral foundation to carry forward the values that our parents and grandparents poured into us. But right now, kids in this country are seeing what happens when we stop requiring empathy of one another. They’re looking around wondering if we’ve been lying to them this whole time about who we are and what we truly value.”

I’ve been thinking about empathy too because it’s a strong feature of most women and female leaders I admire. Women in general tend to have dramatically more empathy than men in assessments like the PONS (Profile of Nonverbal Sensitivity) test and EQ (Empathy Quotient). In the Myers-Brigs test, about three-fourths of women tested as “Feelers” in a national study. Feelers use empathy and emotional intelligence to supplement facts and provide meaningful solutions.

Rather than focusing on division, empathetic feelers seek solutions that bring about harmony and consensus. And that’s something we need to see more of in this pandemic moment. #Michelle Obama, #empathy, #Womensleadership, #women

Whatever Your Politics, the Selection of Kamala Harris as the Democratic VP Candidate is Important for #womenleaders #gender equality and #BlackLivesMatter

Posted August 12, 2020 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Famous People / 0 Comments

It’s more than an individual choice. Kamala Harris represents the growing political power of women, and Black women in particular. Black women are an important demographic in America.

No other major demographic is as loyal to either party as Black people, according to a 2018 Pew Research study

Of course this moment was a long time in coming. A century ago, this month, women got the right to vote in the 19th amendment. Now momentum is afoot in gender equity. And that is good for all women.

As the saying goes, all ships rise with the tide.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: What Good Leadership in a Crisis Looks like

Posted May 14, 2020 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Famous People, Women / 0 Comments

Women are wired for empathy. What a powerful tool that can be in a crisis as New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has demonstrated twice in the last year.

Her first crisis was the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, 2019. She immediately shared heartfelt compassion for the victims, condemned the hate talk of the shooter and affirmed the country’s values. Later, she took action by changing the country’s gun laws.

Now, Ardern is being praised for her handling of Covid-19. On March 21, 2020, she addressed the island country from the prime minister’s office, last used for a major announcement in 1982, so it heralded the importance of her message. She spoke of the pandemic with empathy and specifics, outlining her pre-emptive strategy to “fight by going hard and going early.” She followed up with weekly Q&A sessions from her home, and taking a twenty percent pay cut.

This week, on a Facebook Live video, she announced that the country has “won the battle” over Covid-19 with three consecutive days with no new cases and 21 deaths so far in the country of nearly five million people.

What’s next on her agenda? She’s working on a plan to rebuild the economy.



Deborah Birx – The Lady and Her Scarves

Posted April 24, 2020 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Famous People / 0 Comments

We’re all curious. What scarf is Dr. Birx going to wear today? What’s the brand? Is it Hermes,  Pucci, or Anne Hand?

Not to seem superficial but we’re surrounded by disturbing data and dreary messages, it’s so wonderful to have a diversion. I don’t know whether Dr. Birx thinks in terms of personal branding or not, but she must because that’s what she’s done – she’s a brand.

Her scarves are the power accessory of the moment. They add a bit of brightness, a cheery note to a solemn occasion,

Fans are covering her scarves on social media. Now we have @deborahbirxscarves, @deborah birxscarfqueen, #drbirxscarves to name a few.

Well-known brands like Twitter with its blue bird have long tapped into the power of visual images, logos, color and design to imprint their brand identity into the minds of customers.

Savvy leaders and people in the news can use a distinctive visual identity, too. Women can have an advantage in building a distinct visual identity since men tend to wear a uniform to work with a dark suit and contrasting tie.

Women have a lot more opportunities to brand through accessories, clothing, hairstyle and the like. Madeleine Albright has her pins, Ruth Bader Ginzberg has her collars, and now Dr. Birx has her scarves. Hermes, perhaps the most favored brand in her collection names their scarves like a smart brander, and her fans are quick to identify each scarf. Is it the Rocailles II with its sea shell pattern or the bucolic scenes in Retour a la Terre?.

So, while Dr. Birx may be the only woman at the podium most days, she’s made quite an impression with her scarves, calm demeanor and personal stories. Her personality comes through and it’s augmented by the scarves ans her presentation style. It’s not just the data. She often shares personal anecdotes that humanize her and us too as we try to deal with the pandemic.

It can’t be an easy job for Dr. Birx to handle the other personalities and everything that’s said on the stage at the White House briefings. But we’re counting on her serene presence and her colorful scarves.


The Branding of the 2020 Democratic Candidates Pete Buttigieg: Small Town Boy with Amazing Personal Story and Likeability

Posted July 11, 2019 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding / 0 Comments

How did a small-town mayor break out of the pack? Well, a disarming, confident and incredibly engaging personal brand helps a lot.

First, there’s Mayor Pete’s unusual and compelling personal story. Harvard College, Rhode’s Scholar, and military service in Afghanistan. Then, he comes out as gay and gets married.

Buttigieg realized early on that in a crowded field with 20+ Democratic candidates, he needed to be nimble, creative and develop a different brand. He focused on social media and television, and went light on town hall and small meetings. He appears very authentic on television, and is quick with quotable lines:

“National service can help us to form connections between very different kinds of Americans, as was my experience in the military.”

“I’m still on the clock,” when asked to join some workers for a beer in Iowa.

Buttigieg has a branded look (and shades of JFK) with his dress white shirts worn with no jacket and a narrow marine blue tie that he wears on the stump. He’s short though his exact height is hard to find online. It’s estimated at 5’8 or so, so Buttigieg would be dominated by Trump at 6’2 on the debate stage. While it may be superficial, height gives you an advantage as a perceived leader. Since 1900, the taller candidate has won 19 times, over twice as many times as the shorter candidate.

But Buttigieg overcame limited political experience and a difficult name to spell and pronounce, so he can turn his short stature to his advantage by setting up a modern-day David and Goliath meme.

#Buttigieg #MayorPete #DemocraticCandidates #personalbranding